Monday, 12 May 2014

No, not mad...just a little HSP

Captivated by the sky one late afternoon last week,
 I found I just had to pull over & capture the moment..
before I drove off the road, trying to gawk & drive!
 I've had a few moments like that lately.
Like the day I discovered that I'm an HSP!
I came from very deep.
I have seen hints of "it" floating around in recent months, like catching a glimpse of a skirt as it disappears through the doorway; not knowing quite what you've seen, but intrigued none-the-less.
Tentatively hoping to see more...
 I caught the full view this time & managed to get it to sit in a "chair" so I could have a proper look at it.
I'll explain a little further in a minute.
There has been so much sadness & trauma in my life it's not surprising that I'm drawn to "things" that glisende; harbour beauty.
Swans & water lilies both speak of tranquility.
I was glad to find this embroidered linen on Trade Me recently & as I corresponded with the seller she told me that her husband was in hospital; desperately ill. Of course, I assured her that there was no rush on my part! Strangely, when I went to make the payment I made a small error (unintentionally) enough for her to buy herself a coffee at the hospital during a long day of waiting.
A tender interaction that was so much more than simply a "purchase".
So....HSP? Highly Sensitive Person.
Mmm, you might be saying.
When I recently came across a link that read "30 important websites for highly sensitive people", something prompted me to click. And then I began to read bits like:
"Have you always known there was something “different” about you? Does the world seem to bombard your senses? Have you intuitively known things that others didn’t? 
Is it all pretty awesome EXCEPT: you’re so worn out, overwhelmed, emotional, stressed and maybe even medicated that you wonder how you fit in? (and how you fit into your life?" from The Happy SensitiveI knew I was on to something really important for me.
Then, when I completed this short & simple self test quiz found here & I scored maybe 25 out of 27 I thought "oh-oh this really is me!" (there's a quiz for kids too here)
Apparently, one in 5 of us may, in fact, be some kind of Highly Sensitive Person.
Here I read that: HSPs can be extremely health challenged.
And here, that "The characteristic of being a highly sensitive person is often inherited - a sensitive nervous system that affects every aspect of the HSPs life."
"The sensitive nervous systems of the highly sensitive people mean that they have strong emotions and empathetic natures. HSP intensity can make relationships difficult. Their desire for deep conversation can be uncomfortable to non-HSPs.There is some evidence that trauma may be a factor in HSP sensitivities. David Ritchey's H.I.S.S. questionnaire documented the prevalence of emotional and physical abuse among "anomalously sensitive people" his term for highly sensitive people. Elaine Aron warns that HSPs are more affected by a difficult abusive childhood and need to take special care to heal their wounds. HSPs do not heal that easily from wounds sustained in a relationship so relationships can be a challenge, and many HSPs chose to limit their relationships."
I am beginning to understand why my nervous system has been so overwhelmed by things that other people just take in their stride. Why, I'd love to have a cup of tea with you (anyone) & chat for an hour or so & that's all lovely, but if you come & stay in my house for days & want to chat again & again..I get overwhelmed & stressed & want to hide away on my own in the garden.
And most importantly, why it's taken so long to heal the wounds of my life...because the traumas were so many & diverse & sustained AND I am an HSP!

So when I read at The Happy Sensitive that 
"You..the inuitively gifted, emotionally perceptive, astutely sensitive and sensorily overstretched. I am like you, and it took me quite a while to figure out what that was exactly. You see, it all gets a lot better when you figure out what that sensitivity is exactly, how it works, and how you can best work with it, in your own unique way.There is nothing wrong with how you were built. It’s just that, you were likely told you were a mountainbike, when in fact, you are a less sturdy but very agile and fast racing bike. You’ve been driving yourself down muddy tracks and wondering why things felt so wrong. So here’s why, your way of relating to the world is different, your way of traveling through the world is different, and your way of knowing the world is different. You are definitely a bicycle, just a different type." 
I thought...oh phew, it's not just me!!

Goodness...have you read all this?!
Thing is.....something just might ring a bell for one of you or someone you know & love or perhaps a child that you care for. I only wish that I had understood this stuff a good deal earlier in my life..might have made quite a difference.

It took me a while, but I have just finished reading this really nice novel called "Friendship Bread" by Darien Gee. An utterly delicious celebration of friends & forgiveness. Have you ever been given Amish friendship bread or the starter? Barbara from across the road gave me the starter once, actually, so did my sister-in-law. Afraid to say I wasn't a very good steward of the stuff, but it was fun & such a sweet concept (unlike chain letters & emails!) 
I love the idea of building a story of friendship & connection around the sharing of Amish friendship bread &  how the process enriched a whole town & changed lives for good.
You can find it for sale here at the Book Depository.
They describe the book this way:
"In the tradition of Kate Jacobs and Lolly Winston comes a deeply felt, utterly charming novel of three newfound friends and the unexpected gift that will change their lives. In the quiet community of Avalon, Illinois, Julia Evarts wonders how to move on with her life. Though her husband and five-year-old daughter give her an abundance of love, Julia still reels from a tragedy that has left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend. Meanwhile, across town, widow Madeleine Davis takes great pleasure in serving up delectable treats and cozy comforts at her tea salon--now, if only she had some customers to enjoy them. And famed concert cellist and recent Avalon transplant Hannah de Brisay finds herself at a crossroads when her career and marriage come to abrupt ends. The three strangers forge a friendship at Madeleine's Tea Shop, and soon their camaraderie extends to everyone in Avalon in the guise of a unique and wonderful gift. But even as Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister. Life and loss, friendship and community, food and family: "Friendship Bread" tells a spirited, remarkably moving tale about the triumph of hope."
 You may enjoy the book too, if you come across it. I found my copy at the Hospice shop. It's light & encouraging & a lovely read. When I got to the end of the book I discovered that there's a whole Amish friendship bread community thing going on just right here.
Thanks so much for your friendship & sharing this journey with me.
With much love to you all for a happy, friendly week.
Catherine x0x0x


  1. Fabulous post Catherine! I ticked all of the questions asked, but then that shouldn't be surprising and yes it answers a lot of questions. Will look up the other books you mention.

    1. Hello Lorraine..lovely to hear from you! I think knowing about HSP is going to be really helpful eh...won't fix everything but I like the concept very much of becoming a happy sensitive not just a "highly" one! Next thing is to find new tools to help along the way. Much love to you. Catherine x0x0x

  2. I will have to read this post again to digest it all! yes, HSP could be me, similar childhood issues, similar emotions/behaviour to those you describe. I actually felt emotionally overwhelmed today just out shopping for the day (alone as always) and came back with nothing at all - not unusual for me though, I had seen a fabric made up in something I couldn't wear/afford etc., but just could not get the fabric out of my head! ridiculous but it was a distraction all day, why on earth could I not admire it and move on? mental! it prevented me from considering anything else so I bought nothing. The book looks interesting. My neighbour gave me a starter yeast for friendship cake a year or two ago and we made it and passed it on, it was fun to do, but didn't taste so good! Betty

    1. Hello Betty..yes there's certainly a bit to digest here...mainly because it's all new to us, not a concept I'm very familiar with, but I feel sure it'll be helpful in many ways over time. Yes, I have to say that the novel's great but the bread bit wasn't quite so great. Funny about yours! Much love Catherine x0x0x

  3. I have the friendship bread novel & read it & loved it! A friend borrowed it from me to read & arrived with the book in hand when she ha finished as well as a loaf of the 'friendship bread'....recipe in the book.
    I wonder if the lady you bought the vintage linen from was the same lady i purchased from, as her husband was very ill in hospital too & she was struggling to get her Trademe sales sorted.We had a we email conversation. I hope her husband is OK.
    Lovely sky, it looks similar to mine!

    1. Hello know I bet it was the same trader Jomin is her trade name. I don't think things are too good for them somehow. I have no idea how she's keeping up the selling!
      I am so glad that you've read the book too. How wonderful to receive the returned book & the bread from your friend. I think I may send my copy to Julie...just won't be including the cake bit, however!
      Funny that your sky should look like mine ; ) Much love Catherine x0x0x

  4. It's somewhat of a relief when we read something that just gels with us, gives us some insight into who we are. I hope your new found knowledge gives you what you need. I came across this quote the other day which you might enjoy. "Never apologise for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you've got a big heart and aren't afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength." Bridgitte Nicole.
    Have a lovely day.
    Anne xx

    1. Hello Anne, lovely to hear from you. Happy birthday to your Mum!
      Thank you for the quote..excellent!
      I am so glad to live in this age of knowledge & understanding & connectedness. I suspect that there are many significant pieces to the puzzle for some of us..I am just relieved to be finding a lot more of those pieces lately. And hopefully keep moving towards a more Happy part through self acceptance of the “Highly Sensitive” bit.
      Does that make any sense at all?
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  5. Hello Catherine, that sure is a beautiful sky in your first photo :-)
    Oh My I think I may tick quite a few boxes on the HSP checklist too !!! Its great that you have found all this info as it may help to clear some questions up for you.
    I have never come across the Friendship Bread book but it looks most fascinating. An Aunt once gave me a starter for a Friendship Cake which sounded very similar. I cant actually remember what happened with it but dont recall my part in it being a success!!! Sounds typical of me!!! Hope your week is going well & you are getting this gentle rain that we are over here. Julie x0x0

    1. Hello dear Julie, I have to admit that the actual cake part doesn't really appeal to me....too much sugar & baking (which I'm crap at) & bother! But, I do love the concept & it's lovely in the book. I have your seeds to send still (what seeds she asks?...I know it's been ages!) so I thought perhaps I could pop the book in too as I've read it now, ok.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! So sorry if you've tried to leave one & it hasn't worked. You are welcome to email me at instead, if you'd like to, much love Catherine♥

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